As entries in land registers offer a good insight into family history, I would like to write about this topic today.
Introduction of the land register in Austria
Maria Theresia started a first register of houses in 1770 (see also here) which was the predecessor of our modern land register. Land registers contain a lot of information on properties and their owners. Today, I would like to focus on the owners.
Documents at Familysearch
At Familysearch, there are many Austrian seigneurial records available online (free registration required). To get to the right records, use the menue “Search” and there “Catalogue”. As location, enter “Austria”. You will get to a long list of different records, where you have to select “Court Records” and there you are:
Austria, seigniorial records = Österreich, Herrschaftsakten, 1537-1920
Family Weihs in Sachsendorf, Lower Austria
Using the example of the family Weihs of Sachsendorf (district Kirchberg am Wagram, Lower Austria), I would like to illustrate the support which a land register can offer for family research.
Mathias Weihs was my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. So far, I know that he was born in 1724 in Kollersdorf close to Sachsendorf and that he was married to Anna Maria Leuthner (widow of Stephan Kienast). I did not do much more research on his family yet (except for my direct ancestor, his son Paul).
Transcription and Translation: “Land register of the village of Sachsendorf of all properties with houses and all agricultural properties”
Through the above shown land register („Haus-Überland-Grundbuch Amt Sachsendorf“) which is available online at Familysearch (Source citation see end of the blog post), I found out that Mathias Weihs owned several properties in Sachsendorf.
This was one of them:
Transkription and translation: “Von einem Bauernhaus, dareingehören 3 1/2 Joch Acker” – Of one farm house, including 3 1/2 Joch fields; Joch is an old square measure
From the entry in the land register, one can see the following chain of owners:
Thus, the following persons were owners of the farm house:
- Mathias Weihs and his wife Anna Maria („ux.“ is short for uxoris, wife) as of 1759
- Franz Weihs, first unmarried as of 1788 and subsequently with his wife Elisabeth as of 1790 (from Sachsendorf, formerly written as Saxendorf)
- Joseph Weihs, unmarried as of 1817 by acquisition (for 4,000 Gulden, the former Austrian currency, abbreviated as „fl.“)
- Joseph Weihs und his wife Anna Maria as of 1817 by marriage
- Johann Weihs, unmarried, living in the farm house- by acquisition in 1849 for 1,200 Gulden
All this information give a good overview and there are enough facts for a more detailed research. As mentioned in the illustration of the scope of the parish Kirchberg am Wagram at Matricula-online, the parish Kirchberg am Wagram includes Sachsendorf until 1784, afterwards, the parish Altenwörth includes the records for Sachsendorf (both are within the Arch-Dioceses of Vienna).
From research in the church books, I found out the following:
- Mathias Weihs and Anna Maria Leuthner married on 22.7.1759 in Sachsendorf.
- According to the land register, Franz Weihs married in 1790, which simplifies the search in the book of marriages of the parish Altenwörth: On 22.1.1790, Franz Weihs, son of Mathias Weihs and Anna Maria Leuthner married Elisabeth Nesterl. From the entry, one can also deduct the year of birth of Franz Weihs: He was 25 years of age at the time of the wedding, therefore he was born in 1765. It actually was on 27.5.1764, as the baptismal book of the parish Kirchberg am Wagram shows.
- Joseph Weihs acquired the property from the couple Franz and Elisabeth Weihs (who by the way died in 1830 and 1828 respectively).
Now it is getting more difficult, as the land register does not give information on the relationship between Joseph and Franz. Brother? Son? Nephew?
As the next two entries in the land register have both been made in 1817, it can be assumed that it is for the same Joseph, who was married to a woman named Anna Maria in 1817. And there really is a wedding of Joseph Weihs and Anna Maria Entlang on 11.11.1817 in the church book. The church book gives us the information that Joseph was the son of Franz and Elisabeth Weihs and that he was born in 1791.
By the way, this is the starting point for further research, as I have to try to find the purchase contract between Franz and Joseph. How could son Joseph afford to buy land for 4,000 Gulden which was quite some money at that time?
- The next and last owner in the land register is Johann Weihs who also acquired the property. He was unmarried.
During the time in question, there were three baptisms of boys named Johann Weihs. It is most probable that the right Johann is the son of Joseph and Anna Maria Weihs who was born on 15.8.1825. Any doubt can however only be eliminated through looking at the purchase contract.
Finally, I could establish the following facts with the support of the land register:
Source Citation Familysearch – Land register:
“Österreich Herrschaftsakten 1537-1920,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9K9-BS3H?cc=1929847&wc=MYCG-BZQ%3A1062206102%2C1047408502%2C1062215703%2C1062215702%2C1062221701 : 20 May 2014), Österreich \> Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) \> Kirchberg am Wagram \> Herrschaft Grafenegg mit Freihof Etsdorf \> image 13 of 200; Landesarchiv, Österreich (national archives, Austria).